Time to Read: 7 minutes
They’re often an overlooked little piece of silicon that plays a big role in helping you hear your best - we call them hearing aid domes.
These little tulip or mushroomed-shaped domes are integral to your receiver-in-canal/receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids and have been especially chosen by your hearing clinician for very specific reasons:
- To make your hearing aid comfortable to wear
- To ensure the hearing aid sits properly in your ear or in the canal
- To ensure your get the maximum amplification you need to overcome your hearing loss
Different types of domes
There are three main types of domes:
Open domes - these domes have holes in them. This allows low frequency sounds to enter and leave your ears naturally while your hearing aid delivers more volume to the higher frequency sounds you are missing. This is why it is used for individuals who have normal or mild hearing loss in their low frequencies. These domes don’t block your ears as much as other types, so you’ll be less conscious of feeling like your ears are blocked. Some people do report that open domes can occasionally cause a hearing aid to whistle. Not sure if the last sentence should be said? It may cause unnecessary panic/confusion?
Closed domes - these look similar to open domes but have one or two holes in them (depending on the manufacturer). These are chosen for people who need a bit more amplification in order to maximise their best hearing.
Power domes/double domes - as the name suggests, these domes allow even more sound to reach your inner ear. These domes are occlusive which means they block your ear canal, which is necessary to get your best hearing. Another advantage is that feedback is reduced.
Domes also come in a range of sizes because everyone’s ear canal is different in size. When your clinician conducts a thorough fitting, they will look at the size and shape of your ear canal and work with you to choose the right size that delivers the best sound to you and is also comfortable to wear.
The dome is made of silicon which is flexible and that means it can be a little bit larger than your ear canal but will bend and conform to form a good, secure seal.
You can tell whether you have a perfectly fitting domes because it will be comfortable to wear and does not fall out of your ear. There should be a little bit of resistance when you put the receiver in your ear and possibly make a little rustling noise when you’re taking it out to let you know it is there.
Each manufacturer supplies domes to suit their specific make and model of hearing aid.
Looking after domes
When you buy a new pair of receiver-in-canal or receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids, you will receive a packet of domes as part of your kit to take home.
Just like wax filters and batteries, domes are consumables - that is they will wear out over time and need to be replaced.
How often they need to be replaced is as unique as the individual. Some experts will tell you six weeks, others will say every three months. It is up to you to pay attention to your hearing aid domes and check their condition.
The best way to do this is to cast an eye over the dome each day when you are cleaning your hearing aids. (You are cleaning your hearing aids every day, aren’t you?).
Some manufacturers report that silicon domes do not need to be cleaned and should rather be replaced often. However, if you would like to remove any excess wax, roll the dome in a tissue.
Compare the dome on your hearing aid to a new one.
- Does your dome look worn?
- Does it feel sticky?
- Does it feel loose?
- Does it feel stretchy?
Any one of these is a sign that your dome needs to be replaced.
Many of our clients find it convenient to change the domes on the hearing aids at the same time they replace the wax filter.
How to replace your domes
Replacing your domes is very easy.
- In one hand, hold the receiver (the wire) with your finger and thumb
- With your other hand, pinch the dome, using your thumb and index finger
- Gently pull the receiver and the dome apart until the dome comes off.
- Line up the receiver directly in the middle of the inside of the new dome
- Press the new dome firmly into the receiver to ensure it is securely fastened
This last point is very important. If your domes are worn, or if they are not seated firmly on the receiver, you risk losing them in your ear canal.
When domes go missing
As soon as you notice a missing dome, have a listen out. Your ear is likely to feel ‘full’ as though your ears are feeling congested.
If you are not sure whether your missing dome is lodged in your ear, visit your hearing specialist or your doctor to have a look through an otoscope.
If they find it there, they can remove the dome with a specialist tool.
Do not try to remove the dome from your own ears. You risk pushing the dome further in your ear and risking injury to your ear drum or risking infection.